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Learning my lessons (#MFRWAuthor)

Published August 3, 2018 by francesothomas

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How can it be August already? This is the 31st week in the blog challenge. The prompt is “When I’m not writing, I…”

To be honest, when I am not writing I am often feeling guilty about not writing. I spend a lot of time trying to learn new things, so that’s not a bad thing, right? Some of my favorite people and resources are:

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) provided on sites such as  Coursera and FutureLearn. You can find classes in almost anything that interests you. They are free unless you want to get an official certificate.

Sam Bennett at The Organized Artist Company has paid programs using concepts from her books Start Right Where You Are and Get It Done, but she is also generous with free online encouragement. She advocates spending fifteen minutes a day working on whatever your chosen project is, and she’s right. You can get an awful lot done.

Donna Kozik  is the creator of “Write a Book in a Weekend.” Besides her paid coaching services, she too is generous with free webinars. Most recently, she has coordinated two community book projects like Success Is Yours.

Joan Stewart puts out a very helpful free newsletter twice a week on all things publicity.

Dr. Judith Briles organizes a cruise for writers which I would love to go on. Maybe some day. She also produces a helpful newletter and webinars.

And last, but certainly not least, The Writing Gals, whose podcasts are filled with information for authors.

If you want to read about the non-writing pasttimes of other authors, go here. 

 

 

 

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Fitness Junkie book review

Published July 17, 2017 by francesothomas

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Ironically, the first word that comes to mind for this book  by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza is delicious. A deliciously wicked insider view of the fashion and fitness industries.

It’s the tale of an otherwise brilliant woman who is hurt and whose confidence is shaken when her supposed best friend tells her she is too fat. He’s the designer and she the brains behind a bridal gown company.

She embarks on a hilarious but also sad “journey” through every fitness and weight loss regime New York City offers. The women who patronize the gurus have more money than sense and have bought into the myth that a woman only counts if she is a size zero. Janey, the protagonist has to face some unpleasant truths about her BFF before she can truly find self-acceptance.

If you are a fan of Project Runway or The Biggest Loser, you will feel right at home within the covers of this book.

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband book review

Published May 30, 2017 by francesothomas

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Is it possible for Julia Quinn to write a book that is not delightful? I think not.

Cecelia Harcourt has made the arduous sea voyage to Manhattan to find her missing brother. When she arrives, Edward, her brother’s best friend, is in a coma and badly in need of nursing. Only family members are permitted to stay with the wounded. What’s a woman to do?

Second son of an earl, Edward Rokesby has been fighting in the colonies. He wakes up in a makeshift hospital with an agonizing headache, no memory of the past several months, and, oh yes, a woman who claims to be his wife.

Although he’s never met Cecelia face-to-face, he feels he knows her from the letters her brother has shared. He can’t remember any marriage, but given their respective circumstances, it’s not implausible.

They are indeed a charming couple. Let’s bring back letter writing.

Crushes

Published February 10, 2017 by francesothomas

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Back when my mother was a bobby-soxer, she swooned over Frank Sinatra. For me, a child of the sixties, it was the Beatles, George Harrison in particular. For my younger sister, it was Donny Osmond.

On this weekend before Valentine’s Day, I find myself pondering these teenage crushes. I never got any closer to George than a row on the upper level of what was then the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. Had I ever met him, I’m certain I would have been completely paralyzed by fear.

It’s a different world than it was then. The young ladies seem so much more mature. Do they still idolize pop stars? My guess is it’s the preteen girls now, not the teens, who keep up the tradition.

What is the attraction? The dreamy eyes, the toothpaste smile, or just the safety of distance?

In the comments, tell me about your teen crush.

 

 

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Twelve Days of Christmas book rview

Published November 15, 2016 by francesothomas

 

I confess I have never been a Debbie Macomber fan. Her books have struck me as more goody two shoes than I could bear. i always turned to the tales of dukes and earls for my leisure reading.

Now, however, I find myself writing stores that are similar to those Macomber has long been famous for. I am all about good people, happy ever after, and small town charm.  I don’t presume to have her skill; I’m still very much a novice novelist. But in trying to approximate what she does, I have gained respect for her as an author.

Twelve Days of Christmas hits just the note we need  for the season and for the climate of the country right now too. The heroine is impossibly cheery and sweet. The hero is a modern day Scrooge who falls victim to being “killed with kindness.”

As a blogger myself, I could also relate to the heroine’s struggle to gain readership.

If only real life could be as  wholesome as the world Macomber creates, we’d all be a lot happier.

P.S. Southern Hospitality, the second book in my Calusa series will be out this week.

Just Fine with Caroline review

Published October 11, 2016 by francesothomas

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Just Fine with Caroline is darker in tone than I expected. The story is set in the Ozarks in a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business. This is usually my favorite kind of book.

I was expecting lighthearted fun. But all the moonshine in the hollers can’t change the fact that no life is perfect. Caroline’s mother has Alzheimer’s, her cousin has up and left an abusive husband, and her gay best friend is afraid to come out and face ostracism.

Tall, dark, and exceedingly handsome Noah left town years ago, but now he’s back to reopen what once was his grandfather’s business across the street from the bait shop that Caroline runs since her mother no longer can.

Secrets from the past eventually are revealed and interfere with the budding romance.

Personally, I couldn’t really warm to any of the characters except Noah. Even the HEA wasn’t as satisfying as I hoped. The writing is fine, but this one is not my cup of tea.

Small town politics in Florida

Published July 18, 2016 by francesothomas

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Protesters, clashing viewpoints, economic crisis.

No, not the presidential campaign. It all happens in my romance novella. And yes, it’s a comedy.

If you need a break from the Republican National Convention, here’s a lighter look at political goings on in a sort-of fictional small town.

When the mayor of Calusa flees town in the middle of the night, Geneva Price finds herself in charge and trying to hold it all together. Seth Connor, a swoon-worthy hotel developer (with good hair), might be the answer to her prayers, in more ways than one. But first she has to arrange a truce between the ecologists and the economists. Just a typical day in Florida.

I had such fun writing The Lady Is a Mayor. I hope you enjoy it.